A Part 2 Reflection on Contemporary Issues In Curriculum (5th Edition) and Ideology and Curriculum (3rd Edition)
A Part 2 Reflection on Contemporary Issues In Curriculum (5th Edition) and Ideology and Curriculum (3rd Edition) written by Sharo Dickerson
Curriculum development and implementation entails different factors in order to achieve student academic success (Ornstein, Pajak, and Ornstein, 2011). One of these factors includes the appropriate understanding on the meaning and purpose of teaching in developing the inner growth of students (ibid, p. 53). Teachers play an essential role in demonstrating genuine concern and valuable support to students as unique individuals (ibid). However, teachers are continuously faced with the challenge of being up to date with curriculum changes, understanding student’s complexity as human beings, and being vulnerable to criticisms and individual emotions (ibid). A second factor to be recognized in the role of teaching is the decision whether teaching is an art or a science (ibid). This led to the reconstruction of the teaching framework and in placing greater emphasis on the profession’s moral and humanistic importance (ibid). Teachers collaborate and work daily with students, which entail different modalities of humanistic interactions. These productive interactions cannot be solely measured through standardized assessments, which continues to be a common evaluation tool in determining student success and teacher effectiveness. Furthermore, teachers are human beings who have different emotions and behaviors that should be considered. In doing so, these emotions and behaviors, when developed appropriately, can lead to great potentials in supporting students achieve meaningful and relevant learning experiences. A final factor to be realized in the role of teaching is the importance of identifying the four styles of teaching, namely: knowing, caring, inspiring, and inventing (ibid). These diverse styles of teaching are aimed to understand different teachers, particularly beginning teachers, with regard to their classroom strategies. The idea behind the Inventing style of teaching includes the expectation for students to: (a) desire the discovery of new ideas, (b) explore given possibilities, (c) investigate present beliefs and findings, and (d) invent new knowledge as information creators (ibid, p. 111). Meanwhile, the Knowing style of teaching includes the apparent observation of (a) clear expectations of the teacher from his/her students, (b) lesson objectives, classroom rules, and lesson guidelines, (c) teacher-directed student learning with focus on factual information and key concepts, (d) the dynamics in group work and role assignments, and (e) efficiency and purpose (ibid, p. 112). On the other hand, the Caring style of teaching includes the evident existence of (a) well received affection by students from the teacher, (b) close connections with parents, (c) extra concern towards students’ understanding of a lesson, (d) openness and accommodation towards students’ emotional needs, and (e) parental similarities in supporting students (ibid). Finally, the Inspiring style of teaching includes the (a) acceptance of students’ immense potential possibilities, (b) eagerness to please, (c) stimulation of students’ minds through creative and colorful materials, (d) showcase of student’s individual work and accomplishments, and (e) innovation through exemplified teaching and learning experiences (ibid). These styles of teaching are a great reminder in comprehending the role of structure in curriculum (Apple, 2009). Structure provides the pathways for teachers to define their teaching styles that will either lead students to reach their highest potentials, or be labeled and led to specific programs to support special needs that students may have (ibid). As students are taught desired behaviors, knowledge, and skills, this same thing is applicable with teachers who have undergone a similar process of labeling and tracking (ibid). Curriculum and teaching are great partners as long as appropriate support is provided to ensure good teachers’ are kept in the school system (Ornstein et al, 2011).
As teaching plays an important role in curriculum development and implementation, so is the role of learning as an active participant in student achievement (ibid). This includes opportunities for students to undergo genuine process of learning, which provide students time to identify their strengths and weaknesses, test their abilities, be critical about what they have learned, and make appropriate decisions (ibid, p. 128). Students grapple to find purpose and meaning, build self-esteem and confidence, and establish balance in their more complex life (ibid). In addition, a student’s learning process entails the development of one’s ability to act and think according to given intellectual endeavors (i.e. moral or character education). In doing so, students should be provided more opportunities to be responsible in making choices to investigate and explore (Ornstein et al, 2011). This includes providing students with various learning experiences to develop moral values and characteristics that will result to positive individual growth (ibid). As human beings, it is important that students be engaged in defining their own development, without being replaced by preconceived notions (ibid). These notions are often influenced by previously acquired behaviors, conservatism, and religion (ibid, p. 175). Students should not merely comply with the structure provided in the curriculum or the entire school system itself, but to choose which will be most appropriate for their successful learning. Unfortunately, there is greater complexity within school systems, which influences the manner of limiting students school success and life’s chances through the impact of tracking (ibid, p. 182). Racial identification and socio-economic status have been dead set in identifying students’ future paths, which contributes to the overall societal structure (Apple, 2009). The restraints and limitations that are planted in students’ school success and life’s chances are a reflection on the desire for structural organization, management, and control from the richer or more affluent percentile of society (ibid). This control provides these individuals to produce the desired workforce in sustaining the existence of societal structure (ibid).
Curriculum delivery cannot be complete without appropriate, effective, and engaging instruction. According to Bloom (1956), conventional instruction has its advantages and disadvantages (Ornstein et al, 2011). There are existing methodologies that continue to work in a face-to-face setting. However, there are many practices that have been improved or changed based on the current issues and problems in education. These changes include the necessary development and implementation of better and more effective implementation of a “thought-filled” curriculum (ibid). This type of curriculum provides more opportunities for students to think critically, be adaptable and prepared to collaborate with a highly multicultural environment, communicate strategically and effectively, and apply knowledge to real-world problems (ibid). These opportunities produce nurturing and highly productive learning environments that are more conducive to student success. Student learning environments are constantly affected and influenced by home environments, school learning, district and state policies and regulations, and teachers’ differential instructional methodologies (ibid). In the movie, “Walkout”, it was evident how student success was dependent on their learning environments, particularly with the effects of discrimination and inequalities that were in place at that time. It was very unfortunate that these students, as depicted in the movie, experienced harmful and offensive actions in their desire to have equal and equitable educational resources. Though it may not seem as evident to many today, there still exist different situations of inequality and inequity among students of color in the American education system (Darling-Hammond, 2010).
Curriculum will always be affected by the many decisions of politics (ibid). The policies serve as guiding factors for districts and educational institutions to form regulations to serve students’ interests (ibid). However, the reality of these policies and regulations don’t serve the intended audience. Instead, it’s the students who are constantly affected by the unwise and lack of consideration on the decision-making abilities of legislators and district administrators (ibid). Supervision plays an integral role in the curriculum development and implementation. This includes the effectiveness of supervisors in leading and supporting teachers to become better classroom instructors and instructional collaborators in the school educational system. Ornstein et al (2011) stated that it is important for supervisors to “work with teachers in regards to the manner they work with students, how teachers need to appreciate and understand student diversity, and how teachers should support students needs based on their diverse cultural backgrounds” (p. 257). Today, there is greater diversity in the student populations in American schools (Darling-Hammond, 2010). Majority of the student population come from minority groups whose language is other than English (ibid). In doing so, it may seem that it is to be understood that the American educational system provides existing programs to support student who are classified under minority groups (ibid). Unfortunately, many schools in America lack the funding and necessary resources to support these students (ibid). The tremendous increases in the diversity in student populations have generated more situations of separation and discrimination (ibid). Aside from basing these conclusions and ideas from the past, the ongoing issues and problems in supporting minority groups of students have produced long standing effects in student success, including higher dropout rates, failures of schools to meet adequate yearly progress (AYP), lesser students going to college, and the like (ibid).
References Apple, M. (2004). Ideology and Curriculum. (3rd ed.). New York, NY: RoutledgeFalmer.
Bruner, J. (1956). The Process of Education. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University.
Darling-Hammond, L. (2010). The Flat World and Education: How America’s Commitment to Equity Will Determine Our Future. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.
Ornstein, A., Pajak, E., & Ornstein, S. (2011). Contemporary Issues in Curriculum. (5th ed.). Upple Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.
A Journal on "Virtual Warrensburg: Using Cooperative Learning and the Internet in the Social Studies Classroom by Scott Scheuerell"
A Journal on Virtual Warrensburg: Using Cooperative Learning and the Internet in the Social Studies Classroom by Scott Scheuerell written by Sharo Dickerson
The author discusses how high school social studies teachers can have their students investigate local history topics and share their findings by producing Web pages, using a cooperative learning structure. The author discusses his firsthand experiences using this approach with high school students at Warrensburg High School. He emphasizes the need to rethink how technology is being used in the social studies classroom—in particular, by having students share their local history findings with others beyond the walls of the classroom rather than being passive learners with the Internet. In addition, he emphasizes the benefits of having students work together to collaboratively construct knowledge using technology—specifically, by using the PIES cooperative learning structure to ensure there is positive interdependence, individual accountability, equal participation, and simultaneous interaction among group members. Examples of Web pages, produced by his students using the PIES cooperative learning structure, are discussed in the article.
Literature Review and Discussion
Today’s education demands a multitude of talents and skills from students to become highly efficient and productive citizens of society (Partnership for 21st Century Skills, 2011). Students are expected to develop effective communication and collaboration abilities that are essential in a thriving and diverse workforce (Scheuerell, 2010, p. 195). Likewise, students need to develop good listening skills, learn to become team players, and obtain appropriate behaviors to achieve common and mutual goals (ibid, p. 194). These skills are highly recommended in order to compete healthily and effectively in a global environment (Apple, 2009). Despite the positivity of cultivating progressive and innovative skills among students, one cannot help but think about the desired expectations from a society that is driven with different socio-cultural, political, and economic structures (ibid). One is made to reflect and analyze the genuine intentions of society’s demands to produce citizens that will function completely according to specified roles and outcomes (ibid).
In this journal article, Scheuerell (2010) discusses the importance of (a) developing meaningful and dynamic learning experiences, (b) building relevant connections from past history to present situations, (c) integrating technology with cooperative learning to create and implement best teaching and learning practices, and (d) making a positive difference in society (p. 195). The framework for 21st century learning provides opportunities to prepare students in accomplishing these desired expectations and outcomes (Partnership for 21st Century Skills, 2011). Based on the framework for 21st century learning, students have to be prepared to think critically and communicate effectively, conduct problem solving successfully, and develop creative and innovative ways (ibid). This also includes placing immense emphasis on (a) global awareness, (b) financial, economic, business and entrepreneurial Literacy learning and innovative skills, (c) civic literacy, (d) heath literacy, (e) environmental literacy, (f) life and career skills, and (g) information, media, and technology skills (ibid). In doing so, students will be able to obtain greater understanding of academic content and readiness in a more complex life and work environments in the 21st century (ibid).
In Virtual Warrensburg, students from a social studies class were introduced to collaborative ways of constructing knowledge using technology (Scheuerell, 2010, p. 195). Students were tasked to conduct a research that will (a) connect historical facts on an African American school, (b) explore the impact of the railroad on the community, and (c) discover Bloody Bill Anderson’s impact on the civil war in Johnson County, Missouri (ibid, p. 196). Students were provided with different opportunities to work in groups, communicate with peers, and collaborate with each other to achieve a specified goal (ibid, p. 195). As part of the students’ learning experience, different technology tools and resources (i.e. Internet, laptops, digital videos) were used to complete the assigned research and the production of a web page based on the given topics (ibid, p. 195). Students played different group roles, which allowed each individual to create information and ideas, think critically, apply analytical skills, solve problems, and implement scientific methods in accomplishing the required tasks (ibid, p. 195). This cooperative learning approach provided low and high-achieving students to learn together, retain information in long-terms, be motivated intrinsically, be focused in spending quality time on task, and rely with each other for support and encouragement (ibid, p. 196). Thus, significant academic achievement can be obtained when cooperative learning is implemented appropriately in the classroom (ibid).
Students need to experience thoughtful and careful grappling as part of their learning process (Ornstein, Pajak, & Ornstein, 2011). In doing so, it is important for schools to utilize the benefits of students’ prior knowledge and cultural background to develop students’ new knowledge without the interference and replacement of teachers’ own conclusions (ibid). For this to happen naturally and effectively, teachers have to be open in allowing students to figure out the necessary answers as part of their learning experiences (ibid). Likewise, teachers have to be open to change and explore other possibilities that methodological practices of technology can provide to support and enhance learning (ibid). In this journal article, the high school students from a social studies class in Virtual Warrensburg were able to: (a) collaborate in groups, (b) appropriately use technology to construct individual concepts and understanding of the lesson, and (c) communicate their newfound knowledge to others using technology (Scheueller, 2010, p. 197). This is a great example on how the infusion cooperative learning and technology has created a dynamic lesson, particularly in social studies (ibid).
The experience of Virtual Warrensburg’ students is a positive indication in the importance of developing creative minds, which is highly applicable today (Ornstein et al, 2011). This essential fact can also be associated in the teaching and learning experiences for the students of Ysleta Independent School District at El Paso, Texas. Creative minds are necessary to develop and sustain a society’s everyday existence (ibid). The development of students’ intelligence, knowledge, personality, and motivation will support the existence of a progressive and dynamic environment (ibid). This includes the development of students’ moral and character education, understanding of cultural influence in determining individual roles for the future, and providing multiple opportunities for students to achieve beyond society’s socio-economic structures (ibid). It is a challenge with any school to achieve the ideal student that will eventually lead to the successful creation of the ideal citizen, especially in today’s society where there are more demands for better and greater knowledge, talents, and skills (ibid). In doing so, school communities have to be prepared to support students in being open to the benefits of innovation, creativity, collaboration, and cooperative learning (Scheueller, 2010). Schools also need to provide students with equitable educational opportunities that will lead to more life and work choices (Ornstein et al, 2011). It is evident that students’ academic achievement produces collaboration with peers in a face-to-face setting, offers great possibilities in the use of cooperative learning with technology integration, and provides students with the necessary skills in the 21st century (Scheueller, 2010, p. 198).
Apple, M. (2009). Ideology and Curriculum. New York: Routledge Taylor and Fracis Group.
Ornstein, A., Pajak, E., & Ornstein, S. (2011). Contemporary Issues in Curriculum. (5th ed.). Upple Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.
Partnership for 21st Century Skills. (2011). Framework for 21st Century Learning. Retrieved from http://www.p21.org/overview
Revere, L., & Kovach, J. V. (2011). ONLINE TECHNOLOGIES FOR ENGAGED LEARNING A Meaningful Synthesis for Educators. Quarterly Review Of Distance Education, 12(2), 113-124.
Scheuerell, S. (2010). Virtual warrensburg: Using cooperative learning and the internet in the social studies classroom. The Social Studies, 101, 194-199. doi: 10.1080/00377990903493861
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